Autumn has slipped into winter and I am slowly making adjustments to my different, solitary life. I say it's different but in truth I have always been a fairly solitary creature, although that was often by choice and not circumstance, as is the case now. I'm not sure there is any virtue in this except, perhaps, that without it I may never have become as interested in the natural world as I did from an early age. The drawback, as may be predicted of course, is that when you are solitary you cannot share the magic of a moment with anyone other than, possibly, your dog.
Until quite recently I used to wonder why my mother had drawers and drawers full of photographs that she took on her old box Brownie. Often mundane images recording days at the beach, flowers in the garden or even the pattern of the new wallpaper in the kitchen. But then it occurred to me that we shared certain traits. One was a very patchy linear memory making it difficult to recall the sequence of things as they happened and another was the desire to be able to look back, confident that we had actually done this or seen that at that particular moment and not merely imagined or dreamt it.
And so I find increasingly I am carrying my camera with me as an aide-memoir to record those things which I wish to recall.
Waxwings photo © Paul Gale
I did not have it yesterday however when I had a magical and completely unexpected encounter with 30 - 40 Waxwings in the nearby small park where Sam and I often walk. They are not winter visitors to this area usually, preferring the east coast and Scotland in general, yet here they were, trilling away and stripping the berries from the Rowan trees. There are blessings everywhere if we are able to see them.